This spring, we borrowed a couple of books from the library written by some big names in the financial independence / retire early (FIRE) community. Having enjoyed some of the promotional articles and interviews from Grant Sabatier, Financial Freedom was among the books we selected.
Financial Freedom has an inspiring style. I haven’t listened to any podcasts or other audio interviews with Grant, but his writing style felt like a written pep rally. We liked that–it’s inspiring. At times, I felt like it ventured into “get rich quick” territory in tone. To be clear: Grant never suggests that obtaining financial freedom is quick or easy, but rather it is simple. Grant has a way of distilling math and complex concepts like real estate investing in easy to digest chunks. His target audience appears to be folks, who like he was, are pretty close to broke. Also, we felt like his model reader is a millennial in her 20s. We are a little further down the path–in terms of financial metrics and age–thus, much of his advice felt less applicable because we’ve already completed those steps.
We also disagree with Grant’s side hustle advice to some extent. Although, Financial Freedom has so much motivating energy, we almost thought about buying a four-plex and trying out some house hacking! We understand why he gives this advice, but much of the book focuses on becoming an entrepreneur and earning a lifetime of passive income that way. Neither of the Vines have an interest in starting and growing a business. We are much more interested in early retirement and are better served by devoting energy to our career jobs at this point. We’d much rather achieve financial independence through super saving and securities investing. Part of this is based on age–Grant founded Millennial Money and his book feels targeted towards people under the age of 35. Reading this book made me feel like we are behind schedule and disappointed that Mr. Vine will be retiring “only” fifteen years ahead of traditional retirement age.
That said, Financial Freedom is aptly titled–it provides the reader a path to money independence, where she no longer needs to work for someone else to earn her living. Although conversations about early retirement occur throughout the book, the theme is definitely not retirement, early or otherwise. Instead, the theme is achieving revenue streams not dependent on an employer. This is a worthy goal, but it’s not necessarily our goal.
Notwithstanding the portions of the book that weren’t applicable to our situation, we did appreciate several aspects of the book. First, Grant’s section on real estate investing was excellent. Grant demystifies and explains the different types of real estate investing. He does so in a sensible and practical way. We would consider this portion of the book to be a thorough introduction. The reader may need to seek out more in depth advice on a particular type of real estate investment, but she will be well-armed with foundational knowledge. Second, the section on tax optimization was helpful. Because Grant is not yet retired, he offers tax planning suggestions that can be applied at all phases of the financial independence journey. There were several other small nuggets of tactics that we took from the book, such as frequent, incremental increases to one’s automatic investments. Much of this is advice we’ve all heard before, but sometimes it helps to read something again, in another way, or applied to a different scenario. We especially enjoyed the stories of others in the financial independence community throughout the book.
Overall, we liked Financial Freedom and found some useful information in its pages. We’d recommend it to others, but I do feel like it’s best for a certain audience–particularly those in their 20s (or even younger). Our teenage nephew recently expressed an interest in investing and we think Financial Freedom would be a great book for him to read. Younger adults in particular, could really benefit from Grant’s experience.